McConnell Floats New Plan To Derail Infrastructure Talks: Hold The Debt Ceiling Hostage

July 21, 2021

As the much-covered drama over the fate of the bipartisan infrastructure deal dies down, McConnell told Punchbowl News Tuesday night that he doesn’t think Republicans will vote to raise the debt ceiling. It’s a revival of old tactics of GOP political brinksmanship that Republicans favored during the Obama administration.

“I can’t imagine there will be a single Republican voting to raise the debt ceiling after what we’ve been experiencing,” McConnell said.

Meanwhile, it’s looking increasingly likely that the procedural vote Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) set up for Wednesday will fail — but that he still may win the long game with his gambit. While some ruffled Republicans, probably critical to today’s vote, have said they won’t vote to proceed to debate with the bill unfinished, Schumer’s play still seems to have had the desired effect. The bipartisan group has put the pedal to the metal, and various members have suggested that they’re close to finishing.

Schumer gave them a bit of buffer, saying that if they finish by Thursday, he’ll swap in the completed text as a substitute amendment. If they don’t finish by then, he’ll offer the bills that have passed through committee as an amendment, calling them the “core” of the bipartisan framework.

And if they don’t finish at all … well, Democrats are prepared for that. Many senators told TPM Tuesday that if the bipartisan deal fails, they’ll just wrap hard infrastructure into the reconciliation vehicle.

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